Highlights from the Atollo Project thinktank in Iceland

The Atollo Project, a transformative initiative aimed at creating inclusive digital education environments for learners with special education needs, recently celebrated its official launch with an engaging Think Tank Workshop and Project Management Team (PMT) meeting in Reykjavík, Iceland. Hosted at the University of Iceland – School of Education from April 10th to 12th, 2024, this event marked a significant milestone in the project’s journey.

The workshop brought together a diverse group of partners from across the globe, including representatives from Croatia, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Norway, Australia (on-line), Ireland, and Iceland. Over the course of three days, participants engaged in a series of productive discussions, presentations, and collaborative sessions focused on sharing good practices and refining our framework for digital education.

‘The University of Iceland was extremely pleased to host the first meeting of participants of the Atollo-Project, an Erasmus Plus collaboration with 24 representatives from EdTech companies, universities, special schools and educational authorities from Croatia, Bulgaria, Austria, Germany, Norway, Ireland, Australia and Iceland. The group met at the Scool of Education in Stakkahlíð for 3 days, 10–12th of April 2024. The presentations of best practices from each country were informative and enabled us to start analysis of a framework that will serve as a guide or a blueprint in our tasks ahead. We will be analysing curricula from all partner countries as well as competences in subjects of ICT and mathematics, and digitalisation in general. We have discussed the different ways of approaching teaching and learning of students with special needs and visited special schools in Iceland. We are looking forward to future steps in designing learning materials and pedagogies that they build on.’

Skúlína Hlíf Kjartansdóttir and Anna Magnea Hreinsdóttir , University of Iceland

Key highlights of the event included:

A significant focus of the meeting was also placed on the specific educational needs of learners with intellectual disabilities, highlighting the project’s commitment to addressing the challenges faced by this often overlooked group. Kristina Ferara Blašković from Profil Klett emphasised the importance of this focus, which ensures that our efforts are inclusive and comprehensive.

The workshop concluded with study visits to special schools in Iceland, where participants observed the direct application of digital educational strategies in real-world settings. These visits underscored the practical importance of our work and provided inspiration for further development.

Jeff Sheridan of Matrix Internet, leader of the communication and dissemination efforts, noted, “This week’s activities are crucial as they lay the groundwork for our future initiatives. We are not only developing tools but also building a community that extends beyond borders to support inclusive education.”

This initial gathering in Iceland was just the beginning. As the Atollo Project moves forward, it continues to drive innovation and change, ensuring that digital education is accessible and effective for all learners, regardless of their abilities. Stay tuned for more updates as we progress in our mission to revolutionise digital education for learners with special education needs.

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